Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Happens In India...Must Be shouted From the Rooftops!

Greetings Everyone! Thank you so much for support our team and families in your prayers, assistance and through your on-going encouragement as we served on special assignment in NE India. There is more to share than can possibly be shared and an abundance of blessings for which to give thanks. Though the volume of information is great, I must share a few highlights to give you at least a taste of what the Lord did in us and through us on our visit.

Our Team experienced some trials – Our veteran member Nancy - was injured on our first day in country and soldiered on for several more days before having to return a bit early to ensure her injuries could be repaired before any major damage was done. Nevertheless, she made sure that several projects close to her heart including a special project to distribute new shoes via the ministry Samaritan’s Feet, were in place before her departure.

Chris Simanek, a great friend and brother in the Lord gets highest accolades in his selfless willingness to assist Nancy in returning to the US. While in India, actually his second trip there, Chris managed to locate and encourage some friends who are conducting some wonderful ministry there, met with a child he is sponsoring, encouraged the child’s family and many of their neighbors, and gave a testimony that warmed many hearts among the men in the community and opened some significant doors for ministry that might have otherwise remained much more difficult to open.

Katie and Karen were the Dynamic Duo of the team, and took the ministry project community by storm. No Bug, Bomb or nasty Bathroom in their path could stop their momentum or quench their enthusiasm as they ministered to moms, children and everyone else they encountered. Their joy and enthusiasm was viral and blessed the children of the project and the ministry staff who serve them day after day during our entire time in NE India. It was not possible for them to fail in sharing the love of the Lord in all of their dealings during our stay!

Though we were blessed to see the Lord work in many ways while there, I was especially blessed by the opportunity we had to minister to the fathers. I had inquired about teaching opportunities that might be available once we arrived. I felt an unshakeable and unrelenting conviction that the Lord had something in store using a time of teaching as the platform. I was struck by the need to connect to fathers once we arrived at the project and began asking more pointed questions regarding how we might reach out. The Compassion Team and Hope Church leaders were very eager to assist and put the word out that we would have a teaching time for dads concerning alcohol use and gambling – two major problems among men who work in the Tea Plantations. We started with a handful in attendance. Nevertheless, as we shared, the word spread and we ended up with over 60 and a request for another session later that week. We were able to have another session two days later where we made even further headway and we’re looking into ways we can incorporate some more targeted assistance and encouragement in the areas of substance abuse recovery and parenting skills into our next team.

I would be very remiss in not mentioning the amazing Compassion Team, their US and Indian logistic staffs and Team leaders, the translators, the Compassion Ground Ministry Experts, the Hope Church Leaders and the Ministry volunteers in place at the project sites. These brothers and sisters set the bar in terms of excellence, dedication and devotion to duty. They were literally tireless in their efforts to serve us and the people to whom they are called to minister. They suffered and sacrificed to allow us to not only serve but enjoy our time in Inida in comfort, style and relative ease. These folks are truly the “Crème de la crème’! Bless them and those like them! Way too few of them around!!

As our time wound down, we discovered that we had made many new friends and identified some promising prospects for ministry in the future. Thank you all for standing with us in prayer. I was truly blessed in my first Grace Church International mission and look forward to other International trips in the future. I, my teammates and others who cheered us on are also extremely excited to inject the same level of enthusiasm and focus into our missions efforts here at home. In fact, I was struck by how similar some of the challenges are between cultures – problems of relationships, family and work. The heartbreak of loss, betrayals and disappointments. The hurdles of cyclic poverty and generational discouragement. The grinding battle of disease and health concerns. I believe that our efforts in other nations help provide clarity to serve in our own backyard, and that service here compels us to share all that we know in other places for God's glory. The Lord has given us much to do. I pray you, our friends, will continue to lift us up in prayer as we press on in His service “Here, there and everywhere”! Blessings on you all!

Your Friend and Servant,

Sam Jackson

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